It was announced earlier that the Los Angeles Coast Guard has halted it’s search for former WWE star Shad Gaspard the wrestler turned actor and writer went missing during a dangerous rip current at Venice Bench Sunday afternoon, but the Los Angeles Police Department states that they will carry on with the process.
A representitave with the LAPD told Fox News that that its efforts to search for Gaspard have not been suspended, but could not speak for the other agencies involved in the search.
Mark Kriegel of ESPN, wrote a piece documenting the tragic incident this weekend and gives the account of the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Lifeguard Division of how Gaspard sacrificed himself for the the safety of his son.
“The best way I can describe it,” said Kenichi Haskett, Section Chief of the LA County Fire Department – Lifeguard Division, “is like being inside a front-loading washing machine. The waves keep crashing on you, pushing you down. … I’ve been through that, those kind of rescues. You think you might die.”
This was Sunday afternoon, shortly before 4 p.m., the first weekend Los Angeles County opened its beaches since the stay-at-home order. The swells were 6 feet, and the current was fast, as the father and his 10-year-old son were now 200 yards north from where the lifeguard first spotted them.
The lifeguard, whom Haskett personally debriefed, tried to deliver a “rescue can” — a small, buoy-like device to help tow distressed swimmers back to shore. “But because of the size of the waves, the boy couldn’t secure it,” Haskett said.
That presented the lifeguard — who has a middle school-aged son himself — with an excruciating dilemma. The father was 6-6, about 270 pounds, with shoulders the size of a small desk.
“Based on the gentlemen’s size and the conditions in the water…,” Haskett said, “these are choices we do not want to make.”
Then again, based on the gentlemen’s character, there was never a choice.
“Take my son,” said the father, a former professional wrestler named Shad Gaspard, to the lifeguard.
Save my son.
Three minutes had not passed before the boy was safe on shore. He was physically unharmed, but deeply distraught. “Dad told me to push off to the guy,” he told Steve Smith, a firefighter-paramedic from Rescue 63 in Venice. The boy kept saying that: “Dad told me to push off to the guy.”
The guy. The lifeguard.
Just as he turned back, making a hasty return to the ocean, the lifeguard saw the father again. “A wave pushed him under in the impact zone,” said Haskett. “He didn’t resurface after that.”
The rescue divers went in immediately. Then, the Coast Guard. Still, there’s been no sighting of “the gentleman” Shad Gaspard.
WWE along with Vince McMahon, have released statements after Gaspard’s family released theirs. WWE Tweeted out the following:
“WWE’s thoughts are with the family of Shad Gaspard. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts during this difficult time,” Tweeted the company.
WWE’s thoughts are with the family of Shad Gaspard. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/uBk0Qo9lXt
— WWE (@WWE) May 19, 2020
McMahon’s Twitter account shared a similar statement to his promotion’s, Tweeting, “The thoughts of everyone at WWE are with Shad Gaspard’s family during this difficult time.”
The thoughts of everyone at WWE are with Shad Gaspard’s family during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/dLRnF6oElX
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) May 19, 2020
We at WrestleZone continue to send our prayers and best wishes to Gaspard and his family at this time.